26 Best Restaurants in Tucson for a Business Lunch

Not everyone can have the charm of Don Draper, but we can help you nail your next business lunch meeting by choosing the right restaurant.

First off, you want to be mindful of your guest’s diet — don’t bring a vegetarian to a steakhouse.

Next, service should be attentive to obtain the check at a moment’s notice, but also observant enough to not intrude on any important conversations.

“We’ve all been there,” said Matt Russell, CEO of public relations firm Russell Public Communications. “Getting a server that annoyingly hovers and checks in with you every 90 seconds. While the eagerness is intended to maximize guest enjoyment, this level of service can easily interrupt the rhythm of the table conversation. And if this a business lunch, that rhythm is critical. The best business lunches are at venues where the servers understand this.”

While sandwiches are often ideal for a lunch break, you’ll want something more formal than a deli for a lunch meeting.

“Business lunch implies that we have actual businesses to return to after the lunch hour,” Russell said. “With this limitation, long ticket times can be a deal-breaker. We shouldn’t be waiting for our dishes to arrive at 12:45 if we were seated at noon. Restaurants that are able to serve a memorable meal, with the right level of service, within the confinements of the clock are favorites of mine.”

The environment should also be quiet enough that you don’t have to raise your voice across the table. At the same time, you want it just loud enough for a sense of privacy from eavesdroppers.

With these criteria in mind, Russell’s favorites for a business lunch are Kingfisher, Wildflower American Cuisine, Feast, and Arizona Inn.

In alphabetical order, here are our picks for the best restaurants for a business lunch.

Agustin Kitchen

100 S. Avenida del Convento Ste. 150
Nopales Fries at Agustin Kitchen

Nopales Fries at Agustin Kitchen (Credit: Dana Sullivan)

The elegant, clean interior is balanced with antler chandeliers and rustic wood tables for an environment formal enough to take anyone without any of the stuffiness.

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • Calamari – red bell peppers, carrot, mae ploy, black sesame seeds
  • Kale Pesto Salad – crispy tandoori garbanzos, sheep’s milk feta, kale pesto, Granny Smith apples
  • AZ Prime-Steak Frites – sirloin, fries, Whiskey Del Bac bavaroise sauce

For more information, call (520) 398-5382 or visit agustinkitchen.com.

Arizona Inn

2200 E. Elm St.
Ahi at Arizona Inn (Credit: Adam Lehrman)

Ahi at Arizona Inn (Credit: Adam Lehrman)

Arizona Inn’s AAA Four-Diamond Award-winning main dining room has attracted both business people and celebrities for decades.

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • Ahi Tuna – soy gelee and ginger scallion crème brûlée
  • Lamb Burger – house-made lamb patty, pickled onion, romaine, black garlic goat cheese
  • Duck and Waffles – duck confit, Belgian waffle, cherry compote, sriracha maple syrup

For more information, call (520) 325-1541 or visit arizonainn.com.

Bottega Michelangelo

420 W. Magee Rd.
Interior at Bottega Michelangelo (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Interior at Bottega Michelangelo (Credit: Jackie Tran)

The recently renovated interior features a more open feel and wooden tables instead of the special occasion white tablecloth. Southern Italy-influenced dishes often involve red sauce, so try to avoid getting marinara or bolognese on your expensive business outfit.

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • Salmon – oven-roasted tomatoes, arugula, and olive risotto
  • Swordfish – fingerling potatoes, roasted red peppers, capers, pugliese salsa verde
  • Porchetta – slow-roasted pork belly, broccoli rabe, pepperoncini, provolone, and garlic aioli

Read our May 2019 article 10 fun facts to celebrate Bottega Michelangelo’s 30th anniversary.

For more information, call (520) 297-5775 or visit bottegamichelangelo.com.

Cafe a la C’Art

150 N. Main Ave.

The decor is more on the casual side, but the dishes are more refined. The room to place orders can get a little noisy, so choose one of the side rooms or the lovely patio for a more manageable volume level.

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • Grilled Salmon Salad – oranges, fennel, kalamata olives, red onion, grape tomatoes, pea sprouts, organic greens, citrus-orange vinaigrette
  • Grilled Flank Steak Salad – Honey hoisin marinated, chimichurri, tomatoes, spinach, fontina, grilled red onion, toasted ciabatta
  • Gingered Apricot Almond Chicken Salad Sandwich – organic sprouts, butter croissant

For more information, call (520) 628-8533 or visit cafealacarttucson.com.

Cafe Poca Cosa

110 E. Pennington St.

Interior at Cafe Poca Cosa (Credit: Jackie Tran)

While we love sister restaurant The Little One, their loud music, and cash-only policy can cause issues for business meetings. Thankfully, Cafe Poca Cosa features cuisine as spectacular. Its location under a parking garage also means easy access downtown.

The menu changes twice daily, but you can also trust the Plato Poca Cosa to be a memorable meal.

Read our May 2019 article Internationally acclaimed Tucson restaurant Cafe Poca Cosa remains fresh & local after 33 years.

For more information, call (520) 622-6400 or visit cafepocacosatucson.com.

Cup Cafe at Hotel Congress

311 E. Congress St.
Southwest Salad at Cup Cafe (Credit: Claire Kaufman)

Southwest Salad at Cup Cafe (Credit: Claire Kaufman)

Hotel restaurants are generally a safe bet for business lunch. Cup Cafe stands out with its spacious downtown patio and signature dishes.

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • Depot Salad – Piedmontese beef for its top sirloin along with mixed local greens, cherry tomatoes, shaved parmesan, avocado, smoked crispy onions, and roasted shallot dressing
  • Fish ‘N’ Chips – beer-battered cod, pepper slaw, spicy tartar sauce, lemon, papas fritas
  • Trout Almondine – pan-seared trout, Ramona Farms Pima polenta cakes, smoked almondine sauce, sautéed green beans

For more information, call (520) 798-1618 or visit hotelcongress.com.

El Berraco

2960 N. First Ave.
Lunch Combo with Shrimp Pastor Taco, Octopus Chicharrón Tostada, and Torito at El Berraco (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Lunch Combo with Shrimp Pastor Taco, Octopus Chicharrón Tostada, and Torito at El Berraco (Credit: Jackie Tran)

El Berraco’s dimly-lit environment features colorful tables and modern bossa nova tracks for an upbeat yet calm environment. Their lunch combo program features a self-ordering system on tablets to help keep the pace brisk.

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • Subvocados – avocados sliced in half and filled with salmon, fresh tuna with creamy oriental dressing
  • Shrimps al Grill – grilled shrimp brochetas with chile butter and chuqui salsa
  • El Octopus – grilled octopus, cilantro rice, special salsas

For more information, call (520) 620-9828 or visit el-berraco.com.

El Charro Cafe

311 N. Court Ave.
Carne Seca Burro at El Charro Café on Court Avenue (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Carne Seca Burro at El Charro Café on Court Avenue (Credit: Jackie Tran)

An iconic local institution, El Charro’s carne seca and chimichanga are the stuff of legends.

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • Mole con Pollo – Chef Carlotta’s mole recipe over 100% natural, cage free grilled chicken breast with arroz blanco, frijoles charros, y tortillas
  • El Charro Carne Seca Recipes – your choice of carne seca recipe: lunch-size platter or burrito
  • Just Keto – Three lettuce-wrapped chicken, avocado, and bacon tacos topped with queso cotija, toasted pepitas, jalapeno, and Chipotle crema.

For more information, visit elcharrocafe.com.

Ermanos Craft Beer & Wine Bar

220 N. Fourth Ave.
Salmon Salad at Ermanos Craft Beer & Wine Bar (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Salmon Salad at Ermanos Craft Beer & Wine Bar (Credit: Jackie Tran)

For a more casual business meeting, Ermanos’ order-at-the-bar system will help you get in and out.

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • Sonoran Meat & Cheese Board – sausage, house bacon, jalapeño jam, compound butter, fruit, manchego, Danish blue, goat cheese, pickled vegetables
  • Salmon Salad – arugula, cherry tomatoes, pomegranate, cucumber, and orange dressed with lemon-herb vinaigrette and topped with parmesan
  • Gnocchi con Pollo – house-made sundried tomato gnocchi, sunflower seed basil pesto, grilled fennel
    bulb, red onion

For more information, call (520) 445-6625 or visit ermanosbrew.com.

Feast

3719 E. Speedway Blvd.
Seared Sea Scallops with kabocha puree, roasted cashews, shallots, Swiss chard, crispy summer and winter squashes, and dried apricot at Feast (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Seared Sea Scallops at Feast (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Feast’s monthly-changing menu and extensive wine selection make it an easy go-to for repeat clients without worrying about it becoming stale. The jazz music isn’t too loud as well.

For more information, call (520) 326-9363 or visit eatatfeast.com.

Ginza Sushi

5425 N. Kolb Rd. Ste. 115
The Ventana Special roll at Ginza Sushi (Credit: Jackie Tran)

The Ventana Special roll at Ginza Sushi (Credit: Jackie Tran)

For a longer lunch, consider visiting Ginza. The Japanese izakaya is comparable to a gastropub or tapas bar, so order some beers and share multiple Japanese dishes as you discuss business.

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • Ginza Chirashi – supreme, deluxe seafood assortment (uni, toro, amaebi, etc.)
  • Chilean Sea Bass – miso marinated
  • Hamachi Kama – broiled yellowtail collar

Read our June 2019 article Guide to 12 of the best sushi restaurants in Tucson.

For more information, call (520) 529-8877 or visit ginzatucson.com.

Harvest Restaurant

10355 N. La Cañada Dr. Ste. 141
Short Rib Nachos at Harvest Oro Valley (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Short Rib Nachos at Harvest Oro Valley (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Make sure you save room after your birthday dinner so that you can enjoy one of their fresh, homemade cupcakes or house-churned ice cream.

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • Coconut Curry Ceviche – shrimp, white fish & scallops in coconut milk & lime sauce served with blue corn tortilla chips
  • Hemp & Chia Crusted Seared Ahi Tuna Salad – served on a bed of organic field greens w/ jicama, red bell pepper & daikon sprouts tossed w/ sweet cilantro-ginger dressing
  • Smoked Pork Tenderloin Tacos – house-smoked rubbed pork tenders w/ caramelized red onions, chipotle aioli, avocado crema, queso fresco & pico de gallo

For more information, visit harvestov.com.

Kingfisher

2564 E. Grant Rd.
Macadamia Nut Crusted Hawaiian Fish at Kingfisher (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Macadamia Nut Crusted Hawaiian Fish at Kingfisher (Credit: Jackie Tran)

A Tucson staple since 1993, Kingfisher is the go-to for seafood and martinis.

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • Bay Scallop & Rock Shrimp Ceviche – charred tomatillos, lime, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro, avocado, warm tortilla chips
  • House-Smoked Ruby Trout – red onion jam, hot mustard, and croutons
  • Shrimp Cake Special – one shrimp cake, cup of soup, half mesclun greens salad

Read our February 2019 article Kingfisher Still a Catch After 25 Years in Tucson.

For more information, call (520) 323-7739 or visit kingfishertucson.com.

Maynards Market & Kitchen

400 N. Toole Ave.
Patio at Maynards (Photo courtesy of Maynards Market & Kitchen)

Patio at Maynards (Photo courtesy of Maynards Market & Kitchen)

While the kitchen is only open for dinner, the market is open in the morning. Enjoy the patio that is quiet even though it’s a few feet away from train tracks.

“Maynards Market is my go-to lunch spot,” said Quinn Miller, a campaign manager. “They have great salads and sandwiches. Plus it’s convenient to order and pay up front, so you can get right to business. You don’t have to worry about ordering, eating and paying the bill in time.”

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • Avocado Barrio Toast – avocado, heirloom tomato, Queen Creek olive oil, and zatar on levain
  • Duckin’ Kale Salad – baby kale, marinated shallots, duck confit, blue cheese, toasted walnuts, raspberries, blood orange vinaigrette
  • Curry Chicken Salad – Mary’s Organic Chicken, currants, apples, pistachio, and lettuce on a toasted croissant

For more information, call (520) 545-0577 or visit maynardstucson.com.

Nook

1 E. Congress St.
Steak Salad at Nook (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Steak Salad at Nook (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Take advantage of Nook’s bright and airy yet private patio.

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • Steak Salad – Arizona local hanger steak, arugula, sun-dried tomatoes, zucchini, caramelized onion, fried egg, lemon vinaigrette
  • Korean Burger – red chili glaze, greens, pineapple kim chee, mayo
  • Breakfast Tamale Pie – house-made sweet masa, fire-roasted chiles, cheese, two eggs

For more information, call (520) 622-6665 or visit nookdowntown.com.

OBON Sushi Bar Ramen

350 E. Congress St.
Rainbow Poke Bowl at OBON Sushi + Bar + Ramen (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Rainbow Poke Bowl at OBON Sushi + Bar + Ramen (Credit: Jackie Tran)

As easy as it is to love noodles, stay away from slurping during business lunch meetings.

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • Bird Bun – fried chicken, fuku sauce, Japanese mayo, scallion, cucumber
  • Poke (choose from tuna, salmon, or rainbow cilantro) – seaweed salad, jalapeño, crispy onions, scallions, cucumber, avocado, spicy poke dressing, rice
  • Langostino Roll – lightly fried langostino, marinated onion, romaine, avocado, creamy cilantro, soy paper

For more information, visit fukushuconcepts.com.

Penca

50 E. Broadway Blvd.
Ensalada de Betabel at Penca

Ensalada de Betabel at Penca (Credit: Jackie Tran)

While we won’t stop you from trying Penca’s outstanding tacos on made-to-order corn tortillas, their elegant fork-and-knife entrees eat more neatly.

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • El Tazon – large bowl of poblano rice, black beans, salsa bandera, escabeche, avocado, queso fresco; with choice of arrachera, guajolote, nopales, barbacoa
  • Ensalada de Betabel – pickled beet, roasted beet, goat cheese, pumpkin seed salsa, orange vinaigrette
  • Ensalada de Zanahoria – young lettuce, cilantro vinaigrette, sunflower cracker

For more information, visit pencarestaurante.com.

Reilly Craft Pizza & Drink

101 E. Pennington St.
Brussels Sprouts at Reilly Craft Pizza & Drink (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Brussels Sprouts at Reilly Craft Pizza & Drink (Credit: Jackie Tran)

The lunch special features a pizzetta (mini-pizza) and side salad for $12. The cuisine is approachable enough for anyone but features gourmet details such as house-milled flour and house-fermented goodies.

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • Brussels Sprouts – house hot sauce, sherry vin., pecan brittle crumbs
  • Chopped Salad – romaine and radicchio, chickpeas, pepperoncini, red onion, salumi, provolone, oregano-sherry dressing
  • Yukon Gold Potato & Pecorino Pizzetta – mozzarella, roasted garlic, rosemary

For more information, call (520) 882-5550 or visit reillypizza.com.

Seis Kitchen

130 S. Avenida del Convento Ste.100 • 1765 E. River Rd. Ste. 131

Seis Kitchen provides approachable Mexican classics in a nicer environment while keeping an affordable price point. It’s a win-win.

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • Birria – guajillo chile-stewed beef, pico de gallo, queso fresco, fresh lime
  • Calabacitas – zucchini and squash sautéed in mojo de ajo, cilantro, red onion, guacamole, queso fresco
  • Market Fresh Seafood

For more information, visit seiskitchen.com.

Senae Thai Bistro

63 E. Congress St.

Easily the nicest Thai restaurant in town, Senae is still reasonably priced with a solid wine list.

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • Gai Kra Prow – minced chicken wok-fried with onions and garlic in basil-chili-oyster sauce served over rice or as fried rice
  • Karee Gai – julienned chicken, potatoes and scallions, stewed in yellow curry and coconut milk
  • Pad Se Ew – wide rice noodles, wok-fried with vegetables, eggs and soy sauce

For more information, call (520) 373-5335 or visit senaethai.com.

Tito & Pep

4122 E. Speedway Blvd.
Grilled Pear & Radicchio at Tito & Pep

Grilled Pear & Radicchio at Tito & Pep (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Tito & Pep proudly features a mid-century modern aesthetic with mid-century cookbook-inspired paintings, teal booths, and warm pendant lamps. The space is inviting enough to show up for a casual meal but nice enough to visit for a special occasion. With the recent soundproofing, you’ll be able to converse without being drowned out by other patrons.

Highlighted lunch items:
  • Grilled Pear & Radicchio – apple, hazelnut, blue cheese, spiced cider vinaigrette
  • Miso Glazed Steak Salad – avocado, heirloom tomato, grilled onion, orange
  • Crispy Chicken Torta – pickled onions, tomato, morita-lime mayo

Read our November 2019 Fancy these 9 photos of Tito & Pep’s new fall dishes.

For more information, visit titoandpep.com.

Vivace

6440 N. Campbell Ave.
Fresh Burrata Served Two Ways at Vivace (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Fresh Burrata Served Two Ways at Vivace (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Daniel Scordato’s flagship restaurant Vivace earned a spot on OpenTable’s 100 Most Scenic Restaurants in America list with its panoramic mountain view.

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • Fresh Burrata Served Two Ways – half with fresh tomato & basil oil, half over roasted beets with pistachio vinaigrette over an arugula garnish
  • Breaded Red Bird Farms Chicken Breast – green peppercorn cream sauce, garlic potato puree
  • Shrimp and Crab Cakes – asparagus aioli, arugula, mixed greens salad

For more information, visit vivacetucson.com.

Wild Garlic Grill

2870 E. Skyline Dr. Ste 120
Las Cruces Chili Spiced Chicken Salad at Wild Garlic Grill (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Las Cruces Chili Spiced Chicken Salad at Wild Garlic Grill (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Dinner service is packed and bustling, but the lunch service is quiet enough for a business lunch. The new location’s facade is also more inviting than the original location.

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • Roasted Poblano Mushroom Salad – with grilled vegetables, Willcox vine-ripened tomatoes, baked goat cheese, baby field greens, balsamic vinaigrette
  • Las Cruces Chili Spiced Chicken Salad – baby field greens with mango, grilled pineapple, berries, seasonal fruit, Danish blue cheese, raspberry vinaigrette
  • Braised Red Quinoa and French Lentils – extra virgin olive oil, braised greens, roasted corn salsa, avocado tapenade taro chips

For more information, call (520) 206-0017 or visit wildgarlicgrill.com.

Wildflower American Cuisine

7037 N. Oracle Rd.

The accommodating service and varied menu help make Wildflower one of the most relaxed environments for lunch. Opt for a group menu at a fixed price.

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • Cold-Smoked Salmon – chive crème fraîche, potato galette
  • Smoked Mozzarella Ravioli – crushed Italian tomato, pistachio pesto, and garlic bread

Or choose the three-course group menu and indulge in the Cinnamon Doughnuts with vanilla custard and berry marmalade.

For more information, call (520) 219-4230 or visit foxrc.com.

What’s your pick for the best business lunch in Tucson? Let us know in the comments.

[The article was originally published on January 11, 2018, and most recently updated on January 22, 2020.]

Jackie is a food writer and photographer native to Tucson. He loves corgis and still thinks rickrolling is funny. If you'd like to stalk him, visit jackietran.com and his Instagram @jackie_tran_.

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